Rugby Australia chief confirms offer to host Lions tour of South Africa

“If we can provide a safe haven, an environment where the British and Irish Lions tour can continue, why wouldn’t we?”

Rugby Australia has offered to host the Lions upcoming tour of South Africa this summer if the pandemic doesn’t allow it to go ahead otherwise.

Lions tour

The Lions tour of South Africa later this year seems highly unlikely to be hosted by the Springboks this year due to the rising cases of Covid-19 in the country.

There has been previous speculation that the tour could be hosted in the British Isles in July and August, something that could still be on the cards.

However, on Saturday the London Times reported that Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan contacted both World Rugby and the South African union with an offer to host the Lions series in Australia if required.

Andy Marinos

Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos confirmed the organisation has offered to host the three-match Test series Down Under.

“If we can provide a safe haven, an environment where the British and Irish Lions tour can continue, why wouldn’t we?” Marinos told reporters.

“It’s so important for the global rugby economy and the global rugby community that we have international rugby played with as little disruption as possible.”

Hamish McLennan

Hamish McLennan had told the Times on Saturday that Australia’s record of hosting the Rugby championship – and their preparations to host 30,000 fans a day at the Australian Open – stands the country in good stead to host the Lions series with crowds if it goes ahead.

“We have already staged rugby here around Covid with the precautions we took to play the Rugby Championship,” McLennan said.

“There are so many ex-pats living around Australia from South Africa and the UK and Ireland that we still feel we could fill the grounds.”

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